Ah, Dominique Ansel. How creative you are.
The famed creator of the Cronut opened his first store outside of the US on June 20, 2015 in the fashionable district of Omotesando, Tokyo, where it quickly gained popularity. In fact, when I went my first time, I couldn’t even get my hands on any of his best pastries because there were too many customers! Besides the Cronut, Dominique Ansel has created a variety of interesting new sweets experiences, such as the Cookie Shot and Blooming Hot Chocolate. In his Dominique Ansel Kitchen store in NY, he offers courses, such as the newest Dessert BBQ. The Willy Wonka of our times indeed. And also, the bane of my existence, since I love limited edition products and he released a new Cronut flavor every month (and I don’t live anywhere near his shops).
His most popular offering is the DKA, his version of the Breton Kouignn-Amann.
On this day, I came with a plan – come at opening time and get a Cronut! I NEEDED to try this famed sweet while I could! And so, the very first thing I did was take a train to Omotesando and walk to the store, despite it still being cold and snowy (yes, it snowed in Tokyo the day I went). Perfect weather for Blooming Hot Chocolate, though! Surprisingly, there were a ton of foreigners coming to the store this day, too.
There weren’t many customers, so I was lucky that there was still a big pile of Cronuts and DKAs! I ordered one of each, a Blooming Hot Chocolate, and a cute savory tomato bread that was actually shaped like a tomato.
Tomato Bread: Basil, mozarella, sundried tomatoes all wrapped up in a whimsical sweet bread shaped like the fruit. Cheesy goodness. Very Insta-worthy, cute, and tasty, but probably not the biggest draw to come to Mr. Ansel’s store.
DKA: SO. GOOD. I have to say, this was my favorite pastry I tried at his store. Extremely buttery, laminated well, lots of good caramel notes, not too sweet, rich, rich outside, good crust, flakey, crunch, buttery soft biscuity inside…..ugh, it was just all things good if you like caramelized sugar and croissants all rolled into one, buttery, sweet treat. I could eat ten of these.
Cronut: November’s Cronut flavor was Mandarin Orange Hazelnut with Mandarin Orange Sugar. Sounds good, right? The texture was flakey and buttery, as expected of all of Dominique Ansel’s laminated dough-based pastries, but…the icing on top was extremely thick and too sweet and sugary! It was like I was eating thickened icing. The sour notes of the orange covers up the rich butter croissant, making the whole thing quite sour and unappealing. It was just too overpowered by the creams and icing. Pass on this Cronut and just get the DKA.
Blooming Hot Chocolate: And here we have another winner! The hot chocolate is delightfully rich, and gets creamier as the marshmallow melts. Unfortunately, when your hot chocolate comes out, it is the server who gently drops your flower into the drink, and not you. And not all flowers are born equal, as they might not be centered correctly – especially the little chocolate placed in the center. Also, probably a result of the white chocolate ring that holds the flower bud, there was plenty of remaining pieces of white chocolate on the bottom of my drink.
I could feel all the calories sinking into my stomach.
I have to say, though, that I was really disappointed that they didn’t let me choose a color marshmallow flower to put in my drink – especially since I saw it advertised on their Instagram. They only had the white, standard marshmallow flower.
For curiosities sake, I’ll write my thoughts on my previous visit in 2015.
Frozen S’mores: Beautiful. I hate marshmallows normally, but this was quite good! At the base of the product is the vanilla ice cream, wrapped in chocolate feulletine, with a marshmallow covering. It is torched to order and served on an applewood-smoked willow branch. It was delightful. The mix of textures – the lovely cookie crunch, creamy vanilla ice cream, and melted marshmallow really worked together in harmony. However, the branch didn’t seem to really impart much flavor to the sweet, and it also splintered off INSIDE the product, which seemed just a little more than a bit dangerous for my mouth.
Cookie Shot: No. Just, no. It really didn’t live up to the hype. I guess when you make a cookie into the shape of a shot glass, you do need to have a relatively flexible dough, btut the cookie was basically just oil. So. much. oil. It had none of the crispiness or chewiness I expect of cookies, and wasn’t pleasant to eat. The chocolate coating on the inside also washed away by the Tahitian Vanilla Milk poured inside. Speaking of which, the milk was so-so. Definitely vanilla, but quite strange. I would maybe recommend it once, but never again.